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Lactiplantibacillus Plantarum Strains Isolated From Spontaneously Fermented Cocoa Exhibit Potential Probiotic Properties Against Gardnerella Vaginalis And Neisseria Gonorrhoeae

Nathan das Neves Selis, Hellen Braga Martins de Oliveira, Hiago Ferreira Leão, Yan Bento dos Anjos, Beatriz Almeida Sampaio, Thiago Macêdo Lopes Correia, Carolline Florentino Almeida, Larissa Silva Carvalho Pena, Mariane Mares Reis, Thamara Louisy Santos Brito, Laís Ferraz Brito, Guilherme Barreto Campos, Jorge Timenetsky, Mariluze Peixoto Cruz, Rachel Passos Rezende, Carla Cristina Romano, Andréa Miura da Costa, Regiane Yatsuda, Ana Paula Trovatti Uetanabaro, Lucas Miranda Marques

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Abstract Background Probiotics are important tools in therapies against vaginal infections and can assist traditional antibiotic therapies in restoring healthy microbiota. Recent research has shown that microorganisms belonging to the genus Lactobacillus have probiotic potential. Thus, this study evaluated the potential in vitro probiotic properties of three strains of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum, isolated during the fermentation of high-quality cocoa, against Gardnerella vaginalis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Strains were evaluated for their physiological, safety, and antimicrobial characteristics. Results The hydrophobicity of L. plantarum strains varied from 26.67 to 91.67%, and their autoaggregation varied from 18.10 to 30.64%. The co-aggregation of L. plantarum strains with G. vaginalis ranged from 14.73 to 16.31%, and from 29.14 to 45.76% with N. gonorrhoeae. All L. plantarum strains could moderately or strongly produce biofilms. L. plantarum strains did not show haemolytic activity and were generally sensitive to the tested antimicrobials. All lactobacillus strains were tolerant to heat and pH resistance tests. All three strains of L. plantarum showed antimicrobial activity against the tested pathogens. The coincubation of L. plantarum strains with pathogens showed that the culture pH remained below 4.5 after 24 h. All cell-free culture supernatants (CFCS) demonstrated activity against the two pathogens tested, and all L. plantarum strains produced hydrogen peroxide. CFCS characterisation in conjunction with gas chromatography revealed that organic acids, especially lactic acid, were responsible for the antimicrobial activity against the pathogens evaluated. Conclusion The three strains of L. plantarum presented significant probiotic characteristics against the two pathogens of clinical importance. In vitro screening identified strong probiotic candidates for in vivo studies for the treatment of vaginal infections.